Goals for Winter

In our pieces from last week, Jerry and I both spoke of the need to attend to the energy of the season when setting goals.

Which points to an interesting conundrum for my winter. I'm teaching skiing this winter, and I've been surprised to discover just how physically arduous it is. I go home deeply tired every single day I work. I expected that because I'd be skiing at the levels of my students, I'd be skiing much less than I do on a typical day on the slopes. And while that's true, what I hadn't counted on is that skiing inefficiently, which I have to do to demonstrate the techniques I want my students to work on (in order to model the progression to the next level, I ski just above their current level), is vastly more exhausting than skiing efficiently. Two top-to-bottom runs in a snowplow demand as much from my body as a full day of carved turns. Throw in the energetic demand of focusing as hard as I do when I teach, and my days are really tiring.

Jerry and I both described winter as a time for rest and recuperation, but I'm certainly not tamping down my physical activity.

What has also been interesting, though, is how much energy I've had when I'm on the mountain. Even after nights when I've woken up after four or five hours of sleep and been unable to get back to sleep, my energy during my workday has always been excellent. Over the years, I've noticed how good I feel when I'm in the mountains. This winter, I have come to believe that time on snow-covered mountains offers powerful support for us energetically.

All of this is a long introduction to the framework under which I'm operating for my winter-time goals. If I weren't teaching, I'd probably be resting more, as the season dictates. But I am teaching (and enjoying it), so I'll continue to have to put out the energy the job demands.

So then my main goal, from a fitness and health perspective, is to stay healthy and uninjured. That means being very careful to get adequate sleep, moderating my alcohol intake, and trying my best to eat well. It also means paying close attention to what my body is requesting on days when I don't work. I have no choice but to meet the physical demands of my job, but when I find myself especially tired on a day off, I have to either keep my exercise, be it on the slopes or in the gym, to a light to moderate level, or else take the day off completely.

I am applying Training Tiger Woods principles to my skiing and that of my students each and every day, and of course I'll continue to do so. My goal is to ski and ride with less stress and more flow, which dictates that I continue attending to the breath and continue practicing holding a strong center. That approach, coupled with the instruction I get from the stronger skiers who surround me at work, has already help me improve my skiing markedly this winter, despite having very little time away from teaching to actually practice. I hope to see continued improvement now that the teaching schedule has lightened after the end of the holidays.

I expect to practice or play very little golf or tennis until nearly the spring equinox, at which time we'll establish new goals in line with the growing energy of spring. So beyond what I've mentioned so far, my focus will be in the gym, aiming to provide myself with a stronger base for activities of spring, be they golf, tennis or soccer.

One last thing: I'm in Las Vegas this weekend for a soccer tournament. My team's goal is to win the thing. That's my goal too, right behind staying healthy and uninjured and having a lot of fun. Wish us luck.

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